National student test scores plummet, pandemic blamed
National test results released on Thursday showed the pandemic’s devastating effects on American schoolchildren, with 9-year-olds’ math and reading scores dropping to levels from two decades ago, the New York Times reported.
For the first time since the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests began tracking student achievement in the 1970s, 9-year-olds lost ground this year.
The declines spanned almost all races and income levels and were markedly worse for the lowest-performing students. While top performers in the 90th percentile showed a modest drop — 3 points in math — students in the bottom 10th percentile dropped by 12 points in math, four times the impact.
“I was taken aback by the scope and the magnitude of the decline,” said Peggy G. Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, the federal agency that administered the exam earlier this year. The tests were given to a national sample of 14,800 9-year-olds and were compared with the results of tests taken by the same age group in early 2020, just before the pandemic took hold in the United States.